The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

Actions have consequences, and all that.....

30th of Ashan 721

The shallow bay Egilrun is situated upon is used, these trials, for crafts and crafting. From boatmakers to weaponsmiths, glassblowers to metalworkers, the sound of hammers and saws can be heard almost every break of the trial, with crews working in shifts to produce the beautiful craftsmanship which they might, one trial, become famous for.

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Yeva
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

30 Ashan 721
Glass Temple
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Yeva had been resting.

Tucked beneath the desk of her study, it had been a long night of reading until finally, after a firm reprimand from ChiChi late into the evening, the medic had accepted a blanket and promised to sleep... just after one more chapter. Of course, one chapter led to many and by the time her eyes were bleary and her head threatened to smack against the desk, she pushed away the chilled remains of her tea and crawled beneath the structure to appease the stern guide who would no doubt have an opinion should Yeva be found lying.

And so she slept, almost instantly.

Swept into the world of dreams, faces and people came and went. Not through visions or any discernible imagery, just fleeting wisps that would be forgotten soon after. There was a tug, like a child on her sleeve and Yeva looked down to see blackened stone, cracked where a small sprout struggled to maintain its life. She crouched, touching the the first green leaf and in her hand appeared a water skin. Yeva untied its mouth and whispered softly like a mother to a babe, an echo of something familiar, "I am so proud of you, child."

From her hands, water poured downward and then little sprout glowed, paths of light spreading outward and she realized she stood in the caves of Faldrass. Or was it the Heart? Yeva's brow furrowed, the paths of light twisting and shifting in erratic motion. She did not know the way.

"It is time to go," a man spoke. She could feel him, standing behind her. His voice was deep and patient, eternal.

"Not yet," she muttered, fear and dread shaking her. The smell of sulfur had begun to sting her nose and smoke poured from the cracks in the stone, choking her, "I have to save it, there's... there's...." the panic was consuming her now, and the walls splintered, crumbling. They were going to die again and the realization sent her into a frenzy. She jumped to her feet, searching for her bag. For anything that could help, "There's still time."

Her thoughts came and went like frantic birds.

Another tug, gentle but eager, brushed against her.

"We can still save it!" she shouted, voice booming around her. The tug persisted like a gnawing hunger, but the path remained unclear. Her eyes were stinging, the heat - it was unbearable again - and all the while, the entity was waiting. He infuriated her and her body struck aflame, trying to shield the tiny bit of life in a place so uncertain, "I'm not done yet!"

"Yeva."

She spun to face the voice but she was alone and the world was crumbling around her. She gasped as the first rocks began to fall.

***

Yeva's eyes shot open and she jerked, knocking over a pile of books with a loud clatter. Her body writhed against the blanket's embrace, delayed as she adjusted to reality. A foot kicked against the desk's drawer and the china glass rattled from the cup and saucer atop the desk. The room smelled of quiet paper and wax and ink. This was not Faldrass, she realized after her eyes adjusted to the soft streaming of cold sunlight through the curtained windows. In immediate relief, she collapsed back against the floor and stared at the wood above her. Just another nightmare.

They plagued her almost nightly now.

Either of her near death at Faldrass, her actual death in Rharne, or the -

Was that her breath?

Yeva groaned, body stiff from the angle at which she slept and crawled from the little nook, watching as her breath condensed in puffs of white before her. She looked down at her disheveled shirt and pants and stumbled towards the window to try and guess the hour. What she hadn't expected was the amount of snow, "What in the world?"

Hadn't the last frost passed? What trial was it? Yeva shuflled through all the recent events and tried to pinpoint the date. The thirtieth, but what did that have to do with-

And then she felt it.

The tug.

This time, she understood, she did not feel fear. Not yet, "ChiChi!" Yeva shouted, stumbling towards her desk where some of her supplies sat. She grabbed at the things wildly, feeling an unshakeable sense that she was late for something important. It was time to go! "ChiChi!" she yelled again, stuffing her pockets and grabbing her worn leather backpack from the back of her chair. Packing, she snatched at books, notes, her cloak, and ran from the room, bare feet pounding down the long corridor as she tried to remember where she had left those damned boots of hers.

ChiChi came running from around the corner, a chef's knife in her hand, "What is it?" she asked, breathlessly as she scanned the room for threats, "What is ze matter?"

"I can't find my shoes!"

The woman looked at her incredulously, "What?"

"My shoes!"

Yeva muttered under her breath and found her bedroom, where she tore open drawers and started ripping off her clothes. Modesty be damned, she found a fresh change of clothes, along with socks, a belt to hold more supplies and struggled to button up a fresh blouse with erratic fingers, "Something's wrong," she explained while noticing the woman's apron. She must have been in the middle of preparing lunch, "I don't know. I can feel it.... I... I have to go."

"Where?"

Yeva noticed the Cavani's cloak Elisa had given her and seemed to hesitate, "I don't know. I think that'll come later." Eventually, she grabbed it and unceremoniously stuffed it in her bag.

ChiChi released a string of curses, "You just returned ze ozer night," she didn't seemed pleased, but there was no protests. Yeva had proven time and time again that she was capable. Even more so, if there was something Yeva wanted, she would find a way to get it, "Ze balance is off again zen?"

"I'm not sure," she admitted, afraid saying that she didn't know might just anger the woman, "I... I suppose so. Maybe? I think I'm being pulled... somewhere."

"By Cassion?" ChiChi asked, eyes widening, "By Moseke?"

The two had talked when she returned from Immortal's Tongue, and Yeva had explained a bit of her adventure since they had parted ways in Havardr.

"No, no. I mean, I don't know," she shook her head, amazed at how silly this must all seem. Could it be just the lingerings of a bad dream? Perhaps she was overreacting? "I know it sounds like madness."

ChiChi held up a hand. Nothing felt impossible anymore. Not in Scalvoris, "I will grab ze rest of your zings. What do you need?"

Working together, the guide helped to streamline Yeva's scattered thoughts into productive action. It went without saying ChiChi would oversee her affairs of her manor in the meantime - whatever Yeva's next adventure might be. Once packed, the medic exhaled the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. Then with a nod of silent agreement to follow the call, she took a step and was gone.

And that was how Yeva came to be in the Glass Temple.
***
"Welcome."

In an instant Yeva stood inside a building of vaulted ceilings and an array of prismatic color. Light shone through the different hues and reflected across the tiled floor. The ceilings were endlessly high and rows of pews lined the main hall and to the side, arched entryways signaled alcoves dedicated to individual shrines, accented with more glass. A place of worship.

A temple.

"Thank you," she said softly, clutching her belongings and turning to watch as one by one, others appeared. So many faces, she recognized and none looked quite as... expectant, as she was. Some looked ragged and broken, tired. Others had bloodstains on their clothes and were soaked to the bone, although they moved as if uninjured and no open gashes or cuts indicated injury. A few remained strong and fierce and Yeva watched them all, waiting to hear why they had all been collected like dolls in a house.

The tunawa began first, relaying his information about why there was a second winter and how long it would last. And then why. Something about the City Beneath?

A dark-haired man stepped forward, seeking the leader, the one in charge. The most horrifying detail was that he carried a child, and... was quie familiar. Yeva arched a brow and looked around, knowing the person in charge certainly couldn't be her. After all, she didn't have the slightest clue what was going on and frowned as she listened to Hart's experience.

It disturbed her. Confused her. This was about the war?

She thought the war had something to do with a misuse of resources? Of land or some such? Now the Warden - or his kin - was abducting others?

Another man stepped forward, calm. Dignified? Woe, she realized, eyes widening. She wished to say something to him, to tell him she had gone to Viden looking for him, but he had been away. He looked different from their time on the mountain and offered to go to Ishallr. Interesting.

A Cadouri named Bao went next, introducing himself and asked to look upon the Warden with grace. He was a man who simply loved his daughter and had given everything to protect her. In a way, he was cursed and tricked.

Yeva quietly followed after the red panda, towards Hart and his daughter. She smiled kindly and untied the front pocket of her backpack, offering a sympathetic glance toward Elisa who looked worse for wear. To her surprise, there was no Balthazar. Why? Yeva withdrew a chocolate wrapped in colored wax paper and waited for Doran to finish his explanation and research before inching closer to the traumatized, "Hello," she whispered, glancing between the group, "My name is Yeva of Rharne...We may have met before?" she wasn't sure how to begin and tilted her head to try and peek at Ru's face. For good reason, she could understand if the girl was weary of strangers. Yeva looked back at Hart, "With your permission, I would like to give the child a gift. It will ease her hunger," she explained, "And her mind. I can't imagine what you two must be going through after such a journey."

She held up the treat and unfolded it to reveal the dessert, "Do you like chocolate?"

Her voice remained soft and soothing, "It's very yummy," she pretended to take a bite, smacking her lips, "Mmmm."

"Here," she hoped Hart would at least take it, "You can always save it for later."

Beside Elisa was Praetorum, who she nodded to in respect. The brunette woman beside him was speaking now, The stress in her voice was tangible and unlike a complete dumping of new information, her speech sounded more like a plea. It saddened the redhead to realize how much trouble all those around her had been going through. Elisa wished to go to Ishallr.

Nir'wei spoke next. He sounded like a leader, disregarding the suggestions of others while also making his opinions known. Yeva had shared his mind once. She knew he was powerful, but she also knew he could be incredibly scathing under pressure and not all that good at explanation. Did the others here know who Cyshe was? Or what a Fireforged was? Not everyone had been at Faldrass. Yeva reached out to give Elisa's hand a reassuring squeeze.

Oram and Prae were next. Oram shared information about Slags Deep and the glass that might be used to contain her. Prae, reviewing Doran's notes, suggested that Ishallr's tunnel system was precarious. It was just as Yeva knew it to be.

Then another man spoke and when she turned to find the source of the voice, Yeva noticed... well.... an energy? It pulsed and before he even said it, she knew he was marked by Cassion. That he had been touched by the Immortal. The medic stepped away from Elisa, fascinated and then gasped when he revealed his name.

Arlo Creede.

Vega's love!

She suddenly beamed, less impressed with his ties to Cassion and more by what she had heard from the other woman on the day of their meeting. So! This was the man who had stayed by his love through it all. What a shame his current tale was so... upsetting. Still, valuable.

"Well met," she said, once he had finished, fascinated while she tried to piece together everything she had been told. Yeva loved a puzzle, but why were the stakes always so high? "I will go next," she offered, raising a hand and addressing the group. Her voice was louder now, meant for everyone, "I can not say much about the Warden, or Slags Deep, or Fei's Fracture, or anything like that. I can only tell you what I've been working on and what I know. So...."

She took a deep breath, "When Cylus hit, Linca, the Chief of Havardr, fell into a coma. No fever. No injury. No pain... He merely slept... When they wrote to the Order for aid, the village was snowed in and with the storms, no one could go for a house call... Well," she cleared her throat, "So they thought. I'm not so easily dissuaded when I want something. I pulled a few strings and we managed. Turns out, it was no ordinary illness. Linca was cursed by the Immortal Lissira."

"Curses can be broken by other Immortals. I spoke to Tio, thinking he would help... He answered my prayers, but would not lift the curse so easily. I did more research and met with a woman named Grizelda, during a storm in Almund. Now, I am marked by both Moseke and Cassion."

"Immediately, I went back to Havardr. I woke Linca. I spoke with him and then, I found myself at Immortal's Tongue guarded by Praetorum, to fix a balance that had been thrown off. Up until recently, that had been my sole focus. She said..."

Yeva paused, thinking, "She said the ruins were for balance between her and her sisters. A place filled with traps and spiders... Initially, I had not taken much notice, but the mention of Audrae... Is she too a sister of Moseke? Does anyone know? There must be others. It was plural."

The redhead was beginning to think aloud and her brown eyes settled upon the Tunawa, "You must know. Earlier, you said that balance was necessary. Why?"

What had she stumbled on to?

Yeva waited to see if the tunawa answered and finally addressed the invovlement with the Induks, "I will help release the Induks if it save Scalvoris. Protecting the island and its people,.. That was my vow," the one she had made to Faldrass, although that reminded her, "Speaking of - So many of you speak of Ishallr and wish to go... The tunnels do shift, but rest assured that things will likely be unsure in any of these place. Cassion said-"


Again she paused and reached into her front right pocket, drawing out a golden compass. Yeva was quiet as she studied it, thinking of the Heart, waiting to see what the arrow would do.. She had to get the story right, "I met Cassion in the Heart of Scalvoris. I've been there. On Faldrass, Smooglenuff said the Heart of Scalvoris was beneath Faldrass. It was the core of all the elements," she looked at Arlo, who had spoken of elemental wolves. How they specifically fit into the pizzle, she did not know, but it felt important, "On that expedition, I had hypothesized then that perhaps the elements were tied to places. Ice or water in Ishallr, fire in Faldrass, Earth, perhaps in Scaloth or Sweetwine. I didn't actually think I was on to something."

Now, about Cassion, The shifting caves in Faldrass, the same in Ishallr. There are other places on Scalvoris which did not follow the laws which scientists have so much faith in "So, I asked Cassion if we were standing in the Heart and he said yes. He said that the shifting caves in Faldrass were the same in Ishallr. There are other places on Scalvoris which do not follow the laws which scientists have so much faith in," she remembered that part clearly, because shortly after, Old Dust had managed to slip in quite the flirtatious question in such a dire moment.

"Each of those are part of Scalvoris' Shattered Heart," she repeated, chewing her lip in deep thought. Memories and moments turned over in her mind's eyes, "No matter what is chosen, it will not be an easy. Therefore, I have no preference to where I go." she said at last.

"I have immunity to extreme temperatures, so cold and hot will not affect me," she patted her bag, "I can lend a cloak to anyone else who needs it that offers the same protection. Since it was a gift from a friend, I would like to have it back."

She nodded towards Elisa and then continued, "I am not much of a fighter, but I have skills in other areas. This is not the first time I've been called to restore a spiritual balance," she managed a smile, glancing at Woe, "My time in death has taught me quite a bit about the spiritual realm. Anak, Diri, Induk. It has a hierarchy, and Induks are on the top of this list. Just as the Immortals they are strengthened by their domain, so are they. It should be said that... if this is a quest of returning balance to the island, that magic, marks, fellow spirits - extreme manifestations of power can birth something new. The scales could tip and it may not have the affects you think it will, so be weary. Just as magic takes a toll on a mortal's body," she looked at those around her, eyeing what they paid for power, "This too will have its price."
ooc
Saiore's Chocolate for Ru:

They are, frankly, beyond delicious and taste like your very favourite thing. You find yourself unable to more than 1 on any trial. But each one provides the following to whoever eats it for the next 6 hours: "Saoire's domain of Gifts is not merely one of physical goods, but of the happiness and joy that comes with both giving and recieving a well meant gift. This ability allows the Blessed to give both themselves and anyone they're with a feeling of joy and good cheer, banishing negative feelings like sorrow, anger, and fear."
Last edited by Yeva on Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:40 pm, edited 7 times in total. word count: 3163
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Zoro Astrian
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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It had been a strange time for Zoro Astrian Ever since the letter from Caz from the Scholars Nook had arrived. Zoro's uncle Zebediah had died and had left his house in Scalvoris Town specifically to him. To a certain extent Zorro was a little disturbed by this and wondered why it was that his uncle Zeb had chosen to leave his house to him. He dimly remembered that in his youth on occasion his uncles and aunts would say that Zorro was just like Zebediah. This was something that made his mother and father angry for some reason and as his father was now head of the clan those comments had not been made for many a year.

The family said that Zebediah was a ‘funny fish’ and he certainly marched to the beat of his own drum. If what Zoro heard was right, Uncle Zeb had chosen a life of adventure and storytelling and would travel as a jongleur to distant parts telling stories and collecting many wild tales, and, of course, entertaining people as he travelled.

There had been a strange quality about Uncle Zeb, Zoro thought. When he spoke you had no choice but to listen. Interestingly he was brother to Zoro's Grandfather, however there was an ageless quality about Uncle Zeb and he had seemed young and sprightly despite his years.

In truth this was a fantastic opportunity for Zoro. He loved his family but he felt strangely apart. he yearned for adventure and this would provide one. So, maybe that was why Uncle Zeb had done it, he thought.
Taking leave of his family, and their ship, he travelled Scalvoris Town to find his Uncle’s house. His first call would be to see Caz at the Scholars’ Nook. He was just approaching the door, when a great storm erupted and he dodged large balls of ice. Making his way in through the door, the very air about him seemed to freeze.

Usually, Zoro would be inclined to stay here, but he felt a strong, overwhelming, compeulsion to leave and make his way to the Glass Temple. It was a strange experience, as he didn't seem to have full control of either his mind or his body. Oddly he thought that he heard a snatch of Uncle Zeb’s laughter on the now-freezing wind.

Arriving at the temple he saw a number others gathered and he walked towards them. They all seemed rather wet and a little confused. Feeling somewhat at a loss he approached them.

“Hello” he said “My name is Zorro. How can I help? Why am I here? Zeb is dead”.
word count: 444
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Xander Andaris
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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He'd not had much luck since he came to Scalvoris, once he probably would have handled the whole situation better. However, now he was out of practice, he had become more of a stay at home father than anything else and as such he had not had much luck at finding anything out since his arrival in the foreign lands of Scalvoris. It was clear that something on the island nation was amiss but he didn't know anyone there, he didn't know who to speak too or what to do and in failing to work that out he had wasted time. It frustrated him that he had been unable to get the information he had out to people, he didn't even really know what the information he had learned from his dream really meant.

Regardless another trial had come and today he was determined to attempt to make some progress to find out who he needed to talk too and maybe discover the meaning of his dream. After all the more trials that went by the more dread had grown within him, the more he had felt that the horrors of his premonition would come to pass. With a renewed sense of urgency Xander dressed in his gambeson and brigandine, fastened his sword to his belt and moved to take leave from his room in the inn which he was staying.

He climbed down the stairs and hastely broke his fast with a bowl of porridge. Leaving some nel behind for the food and the room the nobleman moved for the door out of the Inn that would take him to the outside. He pushed it open and stepped outside. Except he did not step outside but instead found himself rather unexpectedly inside what appeared to be a temple. It was filled with strangers and a fair few of them seemed to share his feeling of confusion.

He did not find himself with much time to get his bearings though before the unexpectedly large voice of a tiny Tunawa filled the air and began to explain why they were all there. Xander had to admit that he was still quite confused even when the speech of the Tunawa had come to an end. He looked around then at some of the faces in the room, he recognised a few of them surprisingly, Elisabeth and Yeva were the first faces he placed as they had been the people he had encountered most recently and then there was Doran too. He had not seen Doran in a long time but he did not seem to have changed at all physically as far as he could tell.

Not wanting to interupt Xander listened as people took it in turns to speak, to talk of what they knew and the more he heard the less he understood. Immortals, Originals and Induks, cities that were lost to history and submerged or buried. He did not fully understand but then there were some names he recognised. The main one being Chrien, though it seemed he was not alone in uncovering the fact that her anger was a pivotal factor in whatever doom was threatening Scalvoris.

The father wished he could understand more of what he was hearing, wished that he could perhaps offer more but in truth his dream had not openly offered a solution and it seemed that the others there did have solutions to offer so he remained quiet until everyone else had their say, had made their additions and confirmations of the stories and facts and then finally Xander stepped forward to say his small piece.

"I am Xander Andaris and I will be honest that I know little of Immortals or spirits and I know even less of Scalvoris but I had a dream, vision or premonition, in truth I don't know what it was but I saw unspeakable things, death and destruction beyond explanation and that is why I am here." He paused and looked to the mostly strangers around him and bowed his head slightly. "I do not know what help I will be as all I know and knew was that Chrien was angry, no beyond angry and that whatever was causing it somehow would lead to a catastrophe beyond comprehension and I do not wish to sit by and watch that happen. I may not have more information to offer than that but I have a sword and the training and experience to know how to use it."

He looked around once more and then concluded before stepping back to await instruction. "I am willing to help wherever my skills are most useful and however I can."
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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Arc 721, 30th of Ashan
The first thing that Darius noticed was a solitary clunk on the roof.

He had been writing at the time, and when he heard the sound a second time, he pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. Upon the table sat the book, gifted by Cassion. Its pages had been getting filled, one by one, but now their edges began to flutter. There was a trill of silent anticipation, and then the skies roared.

Hailstones hammered down upon the roof in a deafening crescendo, and the human was already on the move. Stepping out into the street, Darius initially flinched as hailstones pelted him, before he pulled the cowl of his cloak tightly around himself and squinted through the gap as he looked around Hopetoun. Other settlers were ducking for cover, too, or trying to rescue their washing or guide animals towards shelter.

Darius remained outside, however, and soon had Katara circling overhead, the glow of her flames lighting the way in his own vision, but unseen by anyone else. Lars had said nothing of impending bad weather, and he had spied such dangers before. Was Chrien angry that he had spoken to Cassion?

At least this time, they were in buildings, rather than tents, but they were still not as prepared as they would have wished to be. Kirt and the other farmers would, no doubt, be trying to protect their potato crops, but there were also the ships to think about.

As he rushed down the street, his boots crushing the hail beneath them and shifting undesirably in the newly created slush, Darius felt something tug at him. It wasn't a physical pull, but he recognised its power nonetheless. The Baron of House von Smooglenuff sent a reactionary glance towards the volcanic cone of Faldrass, but that was not the direction in which he felt the pull. A second glance followed, then, this one towards Scalvoris Town, and he felt another tug, as if it were confirming its origin.

"Darius!"

Astra's voice pulled Darius' attention back to the present. The half-biqaj woman was nearby, similarly hiding beneath the protection of a hood.

"I'm going to secure the Libertalia," she called out, raising her voice above the sound of the hail.

"Aye," Darius called back. "Get her away from the rocks close to shore."

The brunette nodded, though it wasn't advice she needed to be told. She had as much experience with ships as Darius did, if not more. Before she turned to leave, however, she hesitated, her eyes narrowing.

"What is it?" she asked, her concerned gaze turning tinged with yellow.

"I think I'm being summoned," Darius answered, unable to explain the lure he felt towards his old home. "I'm not sure who by, though. How did you know?"

Through the shower of hail, the mariner could see the first mate grin.

"I can see it in your eyes," Astra called back. "I'm half-biqaj - we know about eyes."

Darius nodded, unsure of what to do.

"Heed the call, Darius," she called out. "Just don't be a hero, okay? The settlers need you."

Astra lingered, and for half a trill, Darius wondered if she might be about to say something else, but the woman turned and rushed off through the palisade gate, heading down the path that led to the beach where the rowboats would land with visitors and supplies.

Again, Darius felt himself being pulled, and he knew he could resist no longer. Retreating back to his house, he gathered all of the items he felt he might need - Cassion's book included - and then, as ice began to creep across the floor, he closed his eyes, and resisted the call no longer.


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Darius found himself in a familiar town, in an unfamiliar situation, surrounded by both familiar and unfamiliar people.

The bearded mariner had spent the cycle focused on Hopetoun and its inhabitants, but it quickly became clear that the events that had been unfolding across the Hollow Sea were just as serious a threat to the settlers as anything on Faldrass itself.

Removing his coat and shaking his tunic clear of a pair of hailstones that had somehow made their way down his back, Darius listened to what the others were saying as Katara - unseen by anyone but the FireForged - nuzzled his cheek with her warmth. There were many speakers, but up until Darius himself spoke, only one seemed to be attempting to be making plans for the group as a whole, and he decided to follow the man's lead. Talking to a large group was not easy, but it was not nearly as difficult as it used to be.

"Baron Darius Baer of House von Smooglenuff," he introduced himself.

He very rarely enjoyed using his full title, but for those who didn't yet know him, it seemed appropriate here.

"I agree with Councillor Nir'wei," Darius declared when it was his turn to speak. "It would make sense to have a Warden in each location - including here. It makes sense for the Albarech and Doran to remain here."

He caught the eye of Kura and Doran, and nodded to each one respectfully.

"Oram is a wilderness man," he continued, "and Nir'wei wants to be close to nature. Having them both go to the Sweetwine might be a good idea."

Both were FireForged, but Nir'wei was probably the best leader in the room, Darius wagered.

"This individual here," he continued, pointing at Praetorum, "claims to be able to never get lost, which would be essential in the caves on Ishallr. If anyone can vouch for him, he should head there with a Warden."

His eyes fell upon Yeva, questioningly. He hated to endanger the redhead - he had lost her before - but the group's resources could only be stretched so far and he knew she would be aware that everyone had to play their part.

He turned and saw Elisabeth, and found himself trying to offer the Videnese a reassuring smile.

"If Balthazar remains on Faldrass," he added, noting the mage's absence, "he might serve us well there."

Whether Elisabeth wished to join him, however, was not Darius' decision to make.

"That leaves Scaltoth," he added. "I can go there, with anyone who is willing to join me."

He had said many names, and caught they eyes of their owners, but the situation was too rushed to have greeted any of them properly. This was a room of friends and strangers, but his focus was on the task at hand. He hoped to be able to catch up with each of them at a later time.

But there were others in the room who he hadn't mentioned, and there were likely to be strong candidates for different tasks that were unknown to him.

"Everyone should find a group to join. If we can ensure that each location has a Warden in its group, we might just stand a chance. You all know your own abilities, and your limitations. Don't take unnecessary risks."

Darius found himself echoing Astra's advice.

"Nobody needs to die a hero."

He only hoped that they - and he - would heed it.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Wed May 26, 2021 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 1213
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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The storm quieted, and then, they were elsewhere. "And now we're bein' jerked around with so much as a warnin'." Kura growled to herself. She had inherited a lot from her mother, including a pretty heavy dislike of most of the Immortals and a profound distaste for their habit of jerking Mortals about whenever it suited them. While it very rarely happened to her, she always had the feeling that she was being treated like a disposable minion who had no choice but to answer and obey. The only reason she had gone along with it on the occasions it had happened was because the alternative had been worse. That would have, possibly, made it okay if any of the blasted wannabe deities doing the jerking about had even the basic courtesy to show up and explain themselves in person.

Still, it seemed like they were helping Scalvoris to not be destroyed, and that was really her highest priority, so she choked down her growls and listened to what Stan had to say about the situation. When he was done, she raised an eyebrow, then grinned slightly to herself. Well, if they were just going to hand her what she needed to save Scalvoris and foil their enemies plans, she certainly wouldn't complain. She had been worried about their lack of time, but eight days, she could do a lot with eight days.

When he was done, and Hart asked who was in charge there, she nodded at him as the others started to talk. She sent her familiars, and Cally, out to keep an ear and an eye on the crowd and relay important information to her while she talked to Hart. She frowned very deeply, once, when he mentioned what the Warden was willing to do, largely because she understood the Warden in that moment. Love was a powerful thing, dangerous and wonderous in equal measure. Giving those who could live forever and wield great power of their own accord, however, was particularly dangerous. Kura herself would never, could never, allow herself to have children of her own because of it. She would not survive their passing, but it wasn't her body that would perish, just her heart and mind. The ravening beast that would be all that remained of her would kill many before someone finally put her down for good.

The Warden, she realized, was much like her in that regard. His daughter was gone, and there was nothing she could do for the child or the Warden now. All she could do, for them and for Scalvoris, was put an end to the beasts that they had left behind.

Hart's last sentence, however, caught her attention and she shook her head. "Faldrass isn't safe. We broke part of the Warden's power when we released the Faldrass Induk. This is liable to put him, and the monster that wears his daughter, at a desperate edge and he may try to regain that power. Faldrass needs its fighters to defend it, but it needs no innocent children right now." she said, her tone calm. Then, she waited quietly until everyone else was done speaking, including Nir'wei's dressing down of the room as a whole.

Then, she stepped forward to where everyone could see her. Before she could speak, however, the five Deputies of the Elements entered the temple, evidently having had their own sort of calling. She adjusted her plans on the fly to account for their presence, and the quicker communications to the Elements they represented. "You five, stand to that side and await my orders. That means you too, Jacien." she ordered, getting a salute from her Spirit Deputy alongside the four public Deputies. Then she looked at the rest. "Right, let's speed this along. For those who don't know, I'm the Albarech, Kura Mareth. I run the government here in Scalvoris, and I'm responsible for the safety of it's people and the defeat of its enemies. Plus the regular Scalvonite forces answer to me. Leadin' is my specialty and I'll be doin' the same with this, and anyone who doesn't like it can put a quick cork in it because we don't have time for infightin' right now." she said, her tone making it abudantly clear that she was in no mood for anyone's backsass right now. People who didn't know her might even think she was already angry, but the icy blue of her eyes were a clear indicator that she wasn't to those who knew to look.

"Now, a lot of information has been said, and I've got all of it. But we don't have time for much more talkin', because we aren't the only ones who are goin' to take this opportunity, so let's get down to proper business." she said, before pointing at Nir'wei, Oram, and Darius. "You three, over to that side." she said, as she called on Ignia to manifest. The fiery owl did so, a polite distance away from Stan, and Kura nodded at the bird. "The Fire Forged should be able to communicate through our Diri. Doctor Augustine did somethin' similar with the Lake Diri durin' the war with Ellasin, so there's precedent. These three will be in charge of communications for their team." she said.

"Elisabeth of Viden, Praetorum, and Arlo Creede, you're with Darius. Your four are headin' to Ishallr. Arlo's got prior experience with the caves, Praetorum's ether trackin' may help navigation, and Elisabeth's familiarity with the cold as a native of Viden may be of service in the environment." she said, knowing Elisabeth's place of origin from the reports on her and Balthazar from the earlier trial. "Darius, keep your Diri out and its flame burnin', you may need it when you find the Induk there." she said, her tone firm.

"Bao Bao, Zorro, and Xander, you three are with Oram, headin' for Sweetwine. Zorro, you're willin' to help save Scalvoris, I'm guessin', but please be careful. Xander, I recognize that shield on your hand, so I know you're good for keepin' folks safe. Bao, I think you'll handle the forest better than a jungle or ice caverns." she said, before looking at Oram. "Like I said to Darius, keep your Diri out and burnin', you're like to need it. But I have some other advice as well. Look for a tree with a door in it, near the center of the woods. We had some weirdness comin' out of there a while back and it seems as likely a place to find a Diri as any other." she said, her tone serious.

"Hart, Woe, Yeva, you're with Nir'wei, headin' to Scaltoth. Yeva can handle any temperature, which can help with jungles. Hart and Woe, I've a feelin' you two should stick together and with someone who can keep you both quite safe, given the Warden's interest in Hart. Hart, if you really want, I can send Ruari to Faldrass, but I think she'll be safer here." she said, her honesty clear in her voice before she looked at her fellow Councilor. "Nir'wei, you know about the Diri. Keep your wolves at the ready as well. If the Warden wants Hart bad enough to chase him, you're the best chance we've got at keepin' Hart from bein' retaken. You may also be able to get help from a tribesman named Ralgar Warborn, if you can find him." she said, her tone firm.

"Doran and I will stay here and co-ordinate everythin'. Take some time to get to know your teammates and if you've got an issue with your team placement, you can raise it with me, but I don't promise to change anythin'. Balance is important to all this and old spirits can be weird. Keepin' the teams balanced to four people each may be vital. Decide amongst yourselves the leaders for each team. We're not goin' to be havin' any time for side trips though." she said, her tone firm.

Then, as the others talked, she turned to her Deputies. "Thaddeous, Thost." she said, causing her Air and Water deputies to step forward. "You two are in charge of gettin' travel set up for them and gettin' them supplied. Cold temperature gear for all of them, particularly the Ishallr group, plenty of rations as well. As for transportation, they all need to get to their destination at the same time and if that can be today, all the better. This has the highest priority, and if anyone gives you trouble, you're welcome to demote or jail them on the spot until this is done." she said, her tone firm. They saluted and set to the task they had been given.

"Markus, Lorstran." she said, calling her Land and Flame deputies forward. "The Warden will not be sittin' idle on this. Secure the towns, especially Egilrun, and put extra troops on the Tower, the Watch, Faldrass, and the Immortal's Tongue. I have reason to suspect the Warden will be hittin' them hard if he's able to act at all. Ziell's apparently keepin' some sort of enforced peace in place for the next eight Trials, but only a fool would assume that there's no way for the Warden to get around that. Don't fight if you can avoid it, but don't be lettin' things get by either. And anyone who plays hooky for the next eight trials gets a full court press, we don't have time for that kind of idiocy right now." she said, getting a salute from the heads of her most combat centric divisions as they went to their duties.

"Jacien." she said, and her Spirit Deputy stepped forward. "I want to know if anyone even twitches in a direction that looks to be takin' advantage of this. Ziell's peace, if it holds like it should, got us time, but it threw us off our plans as well. That gap will take a bit to close, and we can't be lettin' the wastrels through it. While you're at it, round up everyone that's been havin' illicit dealin's with our Sparrow. Fake a charge if you have to, but I don't want any of his friends runnin' around right now. And shut down all glass shipments to Viden. Someone there's been unknowin'ly sellin' to the Warden, but since we can't find out who it is, we'll stop it at the source. Block all incomin' ships from Viden while you're at it. If anyone gives you trouble, give them this and tell them this is the Albarech's orders." she said, writing her authorization on a piece paper from the notebook she always carried with her, then handing it to Jacien. He saluted and went to his tasks.

There, she thought to herself with a slight frown. That was everything in motion. Now to hope it all worked.
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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The Glass Temple. Scalvoris Town

Stan looked around as people spoke. One, then another, then another. There were so many of them. They spoke each one as he had asked them to. Some had no idea what was happening here - Stan made sure to smile to those two, to Xander and Zoro specifically, as he felt that was very brave indeed. Each soul here was a brave one, there was no doubting it. As they spoke, Stan watched and listened and he formed opinions about each person who spoke. First opinions for some, reinforcement of opinions for others and - for a few - Stan found himself surprised, impressed, and even a little disappointed as people stepped forward.

But he said nothing.

People spoke, some people listened, and then Kura stepped up and took charge. Five people walked in - the five deputies of the Military. Different ones were known to different people. But they stood, they listened, they waited. And Kura organised people. They were put into their groups and given clear instructions. Using the Fire Forged to communicate was a useful exercise, and she split the group into three with a fourth group staying here. Two of the Elements Deputies were tasked with being in charge of transport, and they nodded and got on. It involved a quick conversation between them, and then they each went about their tasks.

Within about ten minutes, the members of the Elements, the five Deputies, had got things organised. Kura was kept informed - ThostImage spoke to Kura and gave her the information needed. They could get people there by Sohr Kahl - they could get the Sohr Kahl to their designated places in three breaks, but they'd have to leave in about ten bits.

And so, they had ten bits and then they were led out in their teams, given equipment, supplies, rations, clothes - and then they took to the skies.

Info & Rules

  • You have 10 minutes or so to chat here if you wish. You may post here again or post directly into your group thread, that's up to you.
  • You may post multiple times if needed - but please do not spam the thread.
  • I will lock this thread on the deadline for posting in the four new threads. That way, we're not getting confused.
  • The next post I do here will be Exposition 5.
  • I need to know what happens to Ru and if anyone changes their mind / group etc. If Hart decides to send Ru to Faldrass, you may assume you get the Lion Locket from Arlo. If he decides to keep her here, I need to know who's looking after her. This is important.
  • In order for the Diris to communicate effectively, each Fire Forged diri will need to accompany a Fire-Forged who they are NOT bonded to. That way, the diri can communicate with their bonded companion and the person they are travelling with. Please arrange that and make sure you post it in your group thread.

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There are four threads:
Ishallr Ice
Scaltoth Soul
Sweetwine Song
Glass Temple. Life & Death
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4


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Arc 721, 30 Ashan

Not long after she spoke to Kura, another spoke up. A man she didn’t recognize. He seemed to be familiar with her though…or at least enough so that he thought her to be unsuitable for Ishallr. Perhaps there was something she didn’t know – always a possibility. The other comment, seemingly about Balthazar, did manage to irritate her, although she said nothing. She trusted him with her life, but that was her choice. Others could feel differently. It really was none of her business regardless.

People arrived and spoke, all the while she took mental notes of the things she knew and didn’t know. After a while, it was hard to keep track of everyone. Most people she knew. In fact, the only one she didn’t know was the man that looked like he had just had a bucket of water poured over his head. There was another man that she had never met, but through her visions, she recognized as Vega’s husband, Arlo.

Then Yeva. Another friendly face. She felt her friend’s reassuring hand against hers and gently responded in kind, giving her a smile. She provided a lot of detailed information which Elisabeth was grateful for. The redhead even graciously offered up the cloak Elisabeth had gifted her to anyone who might need it.

Darius arrived and again, the face of a friend helped ease her heart and weariness.

It had been quite a trial already and seemed like things were just getting started.

Elisabeth was well-acquainted with Kura’s leadership style, so her words didn’t have much of an impact on the young mage. She listened, absorbing what was said. Groups were assigned and Elisabeth was to be with Darius, Arlo and Praetorum, going to Ishallr. She listened as Kura instructed all the groups to be outfitted for their environments, especially their group. That coupled with the comments from the man earlier and Elisabeth definitely felt she was missing something.

Biting her lip gently, she walked over to Yeva, giving her a gentle hug. “Is the cloak still available? I hate asking to borrow it when I was the one that gifted it to you…but it seems people are worried about the cold on Ishallr and I want to be prepared, just in case. I promise to return it - I wouldn't want to make your friend upset. ” Grinning a bit at the last comment, she waited to see what Yeva said. Elisabeth had thought that growing up in Viden would prepare her for the icy temperatures she had heard about on the ice island, but she needed to make sure.

As well, she was worried about Faldrass. Kura said it wasn’t safe and she trusted Kura’s judgment. Walking over to the Albarech, she spoke quickly, not wanting to take up her precious time. “Albarech, I don’t know if it’s possible, but if someone could communicate with the Elements in Haven and pass word to Balthazar that I’m alright and will be delayed getting back to Faldrass? I don’t have any way of communicating with him and I don’t want him to worry when I don’t arrive back in Haven when I’m supposed to.” Taking a deep breath, she thought to say more but knew she had already asked more than enough of her.

She had seen Jacien departing, thoughts flicking back to the trial. Elisabeth had no idea what to think about him, but Kura seemed to trust him. The young mage wasn’t sure she could go that far.

Walking over to Darius, Prae and Arlo, she gave a bit of a weary smile, gesturing to her frightful state. “Apologies. It’s been …a trial. And that was before the storm and explosions.” Her clothing was ripped in several places, courtesy of the flying glass from the explosions resulting in the collapse of three buildings. Bloodstains indicated that she had been hurt at one point but inexplicably, no longer. The weariness was a bit evident, but she had been out in the middle of winds that she couldn’t even walk against.

It could tire a girl out.

Extending a hand out to Arlo, the young woman smiled. "Elisabeth. And you are Arlo, Vega's husband. I live in the other settlement on Falrass, with Balthazar. I had some visions of a few adventures you and Vega have been on together so I recognize you. You were also at the Ball in Rharne if I recall?" She knew both Darius and Praetorm, so her attentions were on the member of her group that she didn't know, at least until other matters arose.

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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

30th Ashan, 721

There was a lot of information, and Hart listened. The more he listened, the more the complexity of the information, and the war, was impressed upon him.

Bao spoke about the Warden's motivations, and about the Warden's daughter and the Oath he'd made. When the small cadouri had spoken, he asked Hart if he was hurt. "I am," Hart said quietly. His chest was agony, the pain not as bad as that first moment when he'd thought he would die, but agony all the same. It was difficult to speak for the pain; breathing was painful. "But, I've experienced pain like it before," Hart said. Hart had Fractured before; this Fracture was just more painful than the others.

Doran spoke about his research. Chrien's mother, Fei, had Fractured and died; there was a destroyed city underneath Scalvoris; there was a Fracture underneath Scalvoris; the Warden's true daughter was dead; the Warden's false daughter was trapped beneath Scalvoris, and Hart remembered the woman in his dream, the woman in the glass cage down in the dark; the false daughter was drawing power from the Fracture and from mages trapped in Slags Deep; releasing the induks would prevent the false daughter from becoming too powerful. Hart wished he had charcoal and paper, to write notes; he wished he had time to read the professor's notes. As it was, he listened.

Elisabeth spoke about the immortals, and many immortals were involved in the War of Slags Deep.

It was difficult for Hart to listen to what to Elisabeth said about what she had Ruari had experienced; difficult for him to listen to what she said about him and Ru. You are a good father... He looked at her quietly, not knowing what to say.

Nir'wei spoke about the immortals as well, and about Audrae's deception of the Warden.

Oram confirmed what the others had said; then he spoke about the Warden's false daughter, her binding, and about Egilrun glass. Hart spoke, quietly. "Some of the laborers in Egilrun said there were shackles there with glass in them, two or three years ago." The glass seemed important; Hart thought of the glass cage in his dream. But if the glass was important, he didn't know why.

Arlo spoke of his experiences in Ishallr, and like before, the complexity of the war was impressed upon Hart. There was a lot of information; it seemed to Hart, from Arlo's experiences in Ishallr, that there was more information than was able to be researched. There was information about the war in the experiences people had had; every experience like a grain of Scalvoris sand.

Yeva seemed to confirm that; she spoke of her experiences in Faldrass, Havardr, and Immortals' Tongue. Yeva said that curses were able to be broken by the immortals. If curses were able to be broken by the immortals, why then was the Warden's curse, the Warden's Oath, unbroken?

When Elisabeth had spoken about the immortals, she'd said that they were involved in the war according to their Domains.

Yeva and Stan had spoken about balance. Yeva had spoken about Immortals' Tongue; Stan had spoken about the balance of power in Scalvoris. Immortals' Tongue was a representation in Scalvoris of all of the immortals; a representation of the balance between them.

Nir'wei had questioned why Audrae was involved in the war; according to what Elisa said, Audrae, like the other immortals, would be involved in the war according to her Domains. Audrae had deceived the Warden and the Oath he'd made. The Warden and his false daughter were upsetting the balance of Scalvoris. Were Audrae's motives, then, about upsetting the balance? Not just the balance between the powers in Scalvoris, but the balance between the immortals themselves?

Hart had questioned why the immortals hadn't broken the Warden's curse, his Oath. Doran had said that Vhalar was at risk. Would breaking the Oath break Vhalar? What would happen to the balance of the immortals if Vhalar was broken? What would happen to the balance of the seasons?

Hart thought of the eight-day Festival of the Immortals in Vhalar. On the first day of the festival, the people of Scalvoris made Oaths to the immortal Vhalar. They made Oaths, because in the season of Vhalar, strange things happened in Scalvoris.

Hart was quiet while the others spoke. Then, to those who would listen, he spoke his disorganized thoughts.



Kura Mareth was the Albarech of Scalvoris, and when they'd all given their information, the Albarech organized them into groups. Hart was in a group with Nir'wei, Woe, and Yeva. Their group was going to Scaltoth.

In the ten minutes they had before they left, Hart spoke with Woe, thanking him for offering to go with him. He wasn't able to speak with Woe more than a moment or two, but he was grateful that Woe was there, and that Woe would be going to Scaltoth with him and the others.

Hart answered the question Yeva had had, about them meeting. "We met briefly," Hart told her, quiet. The agony lingered in his chest, and it hurt to speak. "But, you wouldn't likely remember our meeting; it was a difficult time." He was sorry to speak of her death. "It was at the Mummer's Ball."

Hart was quiet for a moment, and then he said, "Thank you for the chocolate."

Before, Yeva had given Ruari some sort of chocolate that would, she said, make the small girl feel better. Hart thought Ruari was doing better now, like Yeva had said. When Hart thanked Yeva for the chocolate Ruari said, "Chocolate." It was the first she'd spoken in the temple, other than Hart's name. She looked at Yeva, her eyes a light, silvery blue like the silvery blush in her cheeks.

"Thank you," Hart said quietly to Yeva, once more.

If Nir'wei was there, Hart would speak to him a moment as well, holding Ruari. "I know I'm not someone you would have liked in your group," Hart said quietly. "But I'll do all that I'm able to release Scaltoth. I'm sorry if it's not much, to you; but I'll do my best for this group and for Scalvoris."

That said, he moved to speak to the Albarech about Ruari.

There was not much time, and so Hart spoke to Kura briefly. "If you don't mind, Albarech, I'll leave Ruari with you." He thanked Kura. If Doran was there, Hart would thank him as well.

Hart would speak with Arlo as well, hoping that Arlo would have some method of getting information to Vega. Hart was hoping to get the information Kura had said about Faldrass to her.

In the time that remained, Hart held Ruari, speaking to her gently about how he was going to leave, and about how she would be with Kura and Doran. He inquired with the Elements, or with the Albarech's staff, about getting Ruari layers of dry clothing, to warm her in the icy cold of the temple.

He spoke to the Elements too, about supplies.

When it was time to leave, Hart left Ruari with Kura, Doran, and the others in the temple. The chocolate Yeva had given her seemed to help, and Ruari didn't cry when Hart left. She just said, "Hat."

It was difficult for him to leave her; but it was less difficult than it would have been, if Yeva had not given Ruari the chocolate.
Notes:
Pegasus wrote:I need to know what happens to Ru and if anyone changes their mind / group etc. If Hart decides to send Ru to Faldrass, you may assume you get the Lion Locket from Arlo. If he decides to keep her here, I need to know who's looking after her. This is important.
From Kura on discord, about the people Ru will be with in the Glass Temple...
Kura wrote:Aside from Kura herself and Doran (which is already enough to deal with most things), there'd also be quite a few Elements with them and Kura's gonna have her secretary, bodyguard and butler/spy/assassin brought to the Glass Temple when I next post. Plus probably also Rand if he's not on the other side of the island.
EDIT: The lion locket will be assumed to be with Vega and Wren, because Ru's remaining in the Glass Temple.
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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4


As more and more people spoke, Praetorum's brow furrowed. Lack of organization, lack of leadership in a group this large, on a mission this vital, was unacceptable. This was not Praetorum's city, not Praetorum's place to take charge, but they could not function like this. His eyes darted from figure to figure, searching for the most likely candidate as the last few stragglers spoke up. 


Then they were down to the last speaker, and Praetorum's shoulders loosened in relief. He knew little of the political structure of Scalvoris, but this tone of voice, this manner of speaking—that, he knew well. 


Too well. Surprisingly well. The Albarech spoke in a Korlasir accent, with the attitude of a legion commander, and Praetorum had to wonder... Kura Mareth. His eyes drifted to the owls that fluttered about the room. Surely not... The Imperial Owl was marked by neither Empress nor Huntress, last he'd heard. But she had been missing from the empire for some arcs now, and there was no one in this world more likely to be marked by both...

He put the thought from his mind. Whether this Kura Mareth was who she reminded him of, it was irrelevant. In the span of bits she'd proven herself capable of taking control; he'd follow her lead. 


When Kura was done barking out orders, Prae turned, and made his way over to his team. Elisabeth and two others. "My name is Praetorum." He said once Elisabeth had introduced herself. "I'm familiar with Elisabeth's capabilities as a defier and a fighter, but I need to know what you two are capable of and what you specialize in. The more we know about each other, the better we'll work as a team. I am a shieldbearer, a defier, a runewright and an attuner, and as I've already said, quite possibly a compass in these tunnels."

He rubbed his muzzle. "The Im— the Albarech also suggested we settle on the issue of leadership before we head out. I'll take charge if we get into a fight—" his tone here allowed for no disagreement "—but I'm not particularly familiar with Scalvoris or the situation at hand; I'll defer to whichever of the two of you," he said, gesturing to Arlo and Darius, "choose to lead."

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Re: The War of Slags Deep: Exposition 4

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Darius had barely finished speaking when he heard the voice of Kura Wolfsdotter scathing through the hubbub. The Albarech had a sharp mind and a commanding voice. She knew what it was to lead.

The bearded blond had encountered her before - both within the caves of Faldrass and in his own settlement of Hopetoun- but he had never seen her like this. By the time she was only a few words in, the brunette had the attention of the entire room.

In his travels upon the sea, the mariner had encountered sailors who would have balked at being led by a woman, but Darius had never felt the same way. He supposed he had his parents to thank for that. Never for a moment had Jean Baer been shrouded by the shadow of her husband. Husband and wife had always treated each other as equals, and they insisted that positions of power were supposed to be attained by meritocratic means.

So when Kura - having been elected to her position of Albarech - spoke, issuing instructions to the group as a whole, Darius listened. Willingly, he stepped to the side, along with Oram and Nir'wei, and he took the opportunity to quietly greet each one as they were reunited. Then he kept listening as Kura sorted those gathered into groups, and began to issue instructions.

Darius nodded, when he was addressed, and agreed to let Katara become visible. In silent and immediate silence, the diri with flaming feathers revealed herself, perched upon her ward's shoulder. She stretched her wings out, then tucked them away, all the while studying those present with her hawkish eyes.

And yet the mariner saw an opportunity to improve their situation, albeit ever so slightly. As the names were read out, Darius was lost in thought, going over the permutations in his head, and he didn't take notice of who would be sharing an adventure with him. Instead, he patiently waited for Kura to finish addressing the group - for he did not want to challenge her publicly, lest it be deemed inappropriate - and approached her.

"I wonder if we can use the Diri more effectively," he thought aloud, eyes searching her gaze as he attempted to gauge her reaction. "I agree that having them with us would be invaluable if and when we encounter an Induk, but up until that point, the groups won't have a means to communicate with each other, if needed. If they were to stay behind with you, then that would open up the lines of communication."

Katara nuzzled Darius' cheek as he spoke, which - he was pretty sure - was doing nothing to his persuasiveness.

"Of course, should we find an Induk, or should one find us, we can always summon our Diri at a moment's notice."

It seemed like a good suggestion, but Darius was well aware that Kura was privy to much more information than he was.

After hearing the Albarech's answer, the mariner turned around to see that three figures had gathered nearby.

At 8ft tall, Praetorum was impossible to miss, and although Darius didn't know the ithecal, he was grateful that someone who claimed to never get lost would be joining him on Ishallr.

Arlo, he knew in passing, mostly as Vega's husband, but Cassion had recently told Darius that the man was his son.

But it wasn't the giant ithecal who caught his eye first, nor the son of an Immortal. Elisabeth, who he did know, looked somewhat worse for wear. With a furrowed brow and not a word said, Darius reached an arm out and wrapped it around the brunette's shoulders, gently hugging her if she allowed him to.

"Are you okay?" he asked under his breath. "Try to get some rest on the way to Ishallr."

He turned, then, when Praetorum spoke, and only then did the mariner extend his free hand in greeting the ithecal.

"Well met, Praetorum," he offered in greeting, before sending a cocked eyebrow in Elisabeth's direction as the tall figure revealed some of her hidden talents. "I am Darius, and I am here because I have encountered an Induk before and because I have a Diri, who might help to calm the mood of an Induk, should we find ourselves face to face with another one. I am not a fighter of your ability, but I know what it means to lead. I am a sea captain and the leader of a settlement, and I can make decisions. Your ability to guide us will be invaluable."

Darius inclined his head towards Arlo, then, curious to know what the son of Cassion brought to the table.
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